I still get nervous before a race. It doesn't matter that I've done three half marathons and a handful of 5Ks and a 10K, for some reason, I still get a bit nervous. Not so nervous that I can't function, mind you. Just a feeling of nervous anticipation as I ponder all the things that can go right or wrong during the next few minutes or hours.
Three years ago, I lined up for my first half marathon, curious to see if I could complete the endurance test that is running 13.1 miles. I passed and was encouraged enough to sign up again the next year and then again this year. I compete against myself in these events, trying to find ways to improve things as I work toward them each year. I realize that it's foolish to compare myself to everyone around me because I'll always be slower than some, faster than others. And that's OK because we've all got different fitness levels.
Yesterday's race started with a beautiful sunrise. Just gorgeous and spectacular. The weather was a bit on the cool side, which is perfect for running. (I'd rather be a bit cool than too hot). There was a cool breeze for much of the race--enough to cool you off but not enough to make things difficult as a headwind.
One of the things I like most about the Middle Half (besides that fact that it's a fairly even elevation) is I think the first half has some beautiful scenery. It helps to have that distraction beyond just the music on the iPod (seriously, how did people run long distances before we could easily store a bazillion hours of music on such a small, compact device?!?) and the first half of the Middle Half has that in spades. It could be part of the reason I always do better on the first half...or it could be just a signal that I need to work on my endurance a bit more.
In the end, I finished about the same or a bit slower than I did last year. It gives me something to work on and some things to improve over the next year or so. But as always, it was a lot of fun and a great sense of accomplishment when I finished it. And there's nothing like running a long distance to help make water and Gatorade taste so good!
posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/16/2011 07:09:00 AM